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For student-athletes at the University of Iowa, there is more to the story than athletic success, and that was never more evident than during the Jan. 4 women's basketball practice inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"We had kids and families from the Shelter House visit practice," says freshman Ally Disterhoft. "We shot some hoops with them following a tour of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It was a great day, a great experience overall. We all had a lot of fun."
"They watched the last half hour of our practice, and we played some games and shot around in the gym with them," says sophomore Kali Peschel. "I showed them how to spin the ball on their finger, and that garnered some smiles. It was a fun day."
The group from the Shelter House enjoyed spending quality time with the women's hoops team.
"This has been awesome," says Royceann. "The kids enjoyed it. Once we got here and saw the big gym, they were very excited. We appreciate the women's basketball team letting us bring the kids in. It was awesome."
"It was awesome playing basketball and meeting the Hawkeyes," says Jarri, one of the kids who visited Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, about what he enjoyed during the visit.
They were plenty of smiles to be found inside the practice gym following practice, both on the faces of the kids, and the members of the women's basketball program.
"We love doing things like that," says junior Bethany Doolittle. "Seeing the excitement on their faces when you are passing a ball with them, they are very appreciative."
"This was a great eye-opener for us, and brought a lot of smiles to our faces," says Peschel.
For the Hawkeyes, it was a perfect chance to give back and have some fun, during a busy stretch in which Iowa plays three Big Ten games in six days.
"It was awesome to see how much fun they were having," says freshman Hailey Schneden. "It is awesome to give back. The kids enjoyed it and had a great time. Some of the kids wanted to play 1-on-1, dribble, and pass. There were a few fun competitions. It was awesome to see their excitement."
"We are here to play basketball, but are also here to excel in the classroom and give back to the community," says Disterhoft. "That is something we love to do as often as we can. It is also a great team bonding experience, and an eye-opening experience."